1.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund
According to the history books, the ancient Mayans predicted that on Dec. 21, 2012, planet Earth would undergo a global shift, changing the world as we know it. Some have interpreted this prophecy as one of a spiritual nature, others have considered it a sign of an impending apocalypse, and others have dismissed it as simply another phase of the Mayans' ongoing, cyclical calendar. One-note disaster movie director Roland Emmerich saw it as the ultimate opportunity to finally blow the entire world to smithereens, something he's come terribly close to doing before in movies like “Independence Day,” “Godzilla” and “The Day After Tomorrow.” If only the Mayans had warned us of the coming of this sadistic hack, they might have saved us from over a decade of mass murders dressed up as premium entertainment. Though it was never all that original, Emmerich's calamitous recipe at least had a smidgen of novelty in 1996's “Independence Day,” and in 2004, “The Day After Tomorrow” was watchable if only for its staggering visuals. But there's nothing fun about witnessing Emmerich gleefully slaughter billions and obliterate everything in sight in “2012,” the 54-year-old death junkie's most insensitive and shamelessly formulaic film to date.